Ether climbed to an all-time high of above $80 this week. The currency has gained more than 700% this year vs Bitcoin’s growth of 50%.

What is Ether/eum? And how is it different from Bitcoin?
Ethereum is a platform that uses blockchain technology to enable the creation of peer to peer contracts without third party involvement (and associated costs and delay): Ether is the currency to transact within Ethereum. Bitcoin is used as a general currency.

Why is it gaining popularity?
Ethereum’s smart contracts are more secure and faster due to distributed computing and automation while offering wider business application – financial, property, vendor contracts, etc. Corporations can significantly reduce costs of processing legal/financial transactions while increasing processing capacity. The creation of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance in February this year talks about it’s growing popularity amongst the global businesses to track contracts and has been an important catalyst in driving up Ether prices this year

Is it a good investment?
Ether rose substantially this year but its lack of history makes it difficult to comprehend and predict price movements, making it a volatile and risky investment. It is unlikely to go as high as Bitcoin given there are no hard limits on its supply. Still, it’s long-term story remains strong owing to the fact that its application goes beyond being an alternative payment method to being an enabler of business logic execution over a decentralized platform. It has a much broader market to address, thereby promising exponential growth in the coming years.

Read more about Ethereum here